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rift (n.)

early 14c., "a split, a breaking, an act of tearing or rending," from a Scandinavian source (compare Danish and Norwegian rift "a cleft," Old Icelandic ript (pronounced "rift") "breach;" related to Old Norse ripa, rifa "to tear apart, break a contract" (see riven). Probably influenced in Middle English by rive (v.).

From late 14c. as "a cleft, fissure, or chasm in the earth;" by c. 1400 as "a crack, split, or similar opening" in anything. Figurative use from 1620s. Specific modern geological sense of "large fault running parallel to the relief" is by 1921. As a verb, c. 1300, "to split, form fissures, gape open."

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Definitions of rift from WordNet

rift (n.)
a gap between cloud masses;
the sun shone through a rift in the clouds
rift (n.)
a narrow fissure in rock;
rift (n.)
a personal or social separation (as between opposing factions);
Synonyms: rupture / breach / break / severance / falling out
From wordnet.princeton.edu